Mayor backs police road safety operation

27 May 2014

The annual figures measuring death and serious injury to cyclists in London reveal a significant drop in the numbers killed or seriously injured in 2013 compared to the previous year.

The figures, published today, show there were 475 serious injuries to cyclists in 2013, compared with 657 in 2012 – that 28 per cent fall means that around one in every 433,000 cycle journeys made in London end in the cyclist being killed or seriously injured (KSI). That is the second-lowest rate ever recorded, just behind figures for 2006, when there was one KSI for every 434,000 journeys by bike.

Part of the reduction was due to the Metropolitan Police’s “Operation Safeway” which ran in November and December. Hundreds of officers were placed on street corners, targeting dangerous and unlawful behaviour by lorry drivers, motorists and cyclists.


The Mayor, Boris Johnson, today confirmed that similar, but smaller-scale, police operations will be mounted across London for two days every month, running indefinitely.

Mr Johnson said: “Whilst these new figures are encouraging and a real move in the right direction one death or serious injury is one too many. That is why I am building new, protected cycle routes and better junctions, the first of which will be delivered this year.

“It is why I intend to ban all lorries not fitted with cyclist safety equipment from London. It’s why we are investing the thick end of £1 billion on cycle safety and infrastructure. And it is why I am today confirming ‘Son of Safeway’ police operations to maintain the improvements in behaviour we have seen from all road users.”


Cyclist KSIs, per journey, have fallen by around 75 per cent since 1989, when 33 cyclists were killed and 752 seriously injured in London. Around 90 million cycle journeys were made that year. The KSI rate in 1989 was one in every 115,000 journeys.

Cyclist KSIs per journey have also halved in the last fifteen years. The number of serious injuries and deaths last year was almost the same as it was in 1999, even though only around 98 million journeys were made by bike in that year. The KSI rate in 1999 was around one in every 200,000 journeys.

The fall in cyclist serious injuries has come despite a slight rise in overall traffic levels on London’s roads, and a bigger rise in the number of lorries because of the building boom.

London’s cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan added: “The tragic deaths of six cyclists over a two week period in November 2013 perhaps understandably led to claims that cycling in London was unsafe, and getting more dangerous. In fact the truth is that as a whole cycling in London in 2013 became dramatically safer.

“If we are to improve safety still further, we need to be honest with ourselves about why accidents happen and why they have come down so much. We need to build safer roads, and the introduction of more segregated infrastructure can improve things still further, but as coroners have emphasised in recent inquest verdicts, people also have a responsibility to use those roads safely.

“Our work to change road users’ behaviour is not, as some cyclists seem to think, a distraction from the ‘real job’ of building segregated routes and junctions. The truth is that we need to do both, and we will do both.”

The new police operation will run twice a month, on unannounced days, with up to 1,000 police officers and staff stationed simultaneously at around 100 junctions in inner London.

The original Operation Safeway stationed police at 170 junctions over a seven-week period. Just under 14,000 fixed penalty notices were issued, of which 29.5 per cent were to cyclists and 70.5 per cent to motorists.

The Industrial HGV Task Force, made up of TfL, City of London Police, Metropolitan Police Service and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency personnel, also continues to operate across London.

Targeting non-compliant heavy goods (particularly construction-related) vehicles, drivers and operators using London’s roads, the Task Force has seen more than 2,000 vehicles stopped, around 600 fixed penalty notices issued for a variety of safety related offences and more than 30 dangerous vehicles seized since it was launched in October 2013.

Superintendent Rob Revill, MPS Safer Transport Command, said: “Our aim is to reduce the appalling number of people who die or are injured on London's roads each year. Every road death is a needless tragedy that wreaks devastation for the victim's friends and family. Every serious injury is life-changing and distressing.

“Operation Safeway has significantly contributed towards a change in road user behaviour, so we will continue to carry out operations at busy junctions, in addition to our daily road safety work to ensure that people continue to act legally and safely on the roads.

“It is so important that this change in behaviour is now maintained and we are not complacent. Remember, nothing is worth risking yours or another person's life on the road.”

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “The Mayor and TfL are passionate about improving road safety for all and the cycling KSI figures for 2013 clearly show that positive progress is being made. However, every single death or injury on our roads is a serious matter. One of TfL’s top priorities is to reduce by 40 per cent the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 2020. That is why we are spending around a billion pounds on more enforcement and better cycling infrastructure across London.”


Notes to editors

  1. To view the KSI statistics please visit
  2. Serious injuries include fractures, severe cuts and where a person is detained in hospital
  3. The number of deaths, 14, was the same in 2013 as in 2012, but the KSI figure is a better indicator of trends than the number of deaths alone, the number being too small statistically to draw accurate conclusions from
  4. The complete package of 2013 casualty data is currently being finalised and will be made publicly available in the next few weeks